LOTS of people are putting in claims for, or complaining loudly, about burst tyres and bent wheels after their cars have been damaged by potholes.
Kirklees is, strangely, a really bad place for potholes. There was a rumour a week or two ago that other areas were starting to call their potholes ‘huddersfields’.
“There I was, driving along, minding my own business, when suddenly there was a big bang and I realised I’d driven down a huddersfield. Ruined the exhaust and suspension, so it did.”
European funding brought many new roads to Eire over the last decade, before the government ran up a few bills and the Celtic Tiger became a dead cat.
Over there as the big thaw set in just after Christmas, we noticed that tarmac had been laid as thinly as a ten-Euro note on a good number of them.
The ice just ripped it up, in some instances to the yellow clay beneath.
We drove back to Cork Airport on a bed of black rubble.
I’d say the Irish have worse problems than ourselves in this department.
In an attempt to divert the general public from calling them huddersfields, might I suggest we all call them killarneys?
Strictly speaking, a pothole is something altogether more impressive than a damaged bit of tarmac.
It’s actually more impressive than the huge cavern that opened up under Manchester Road last week – and you could have hidden half Kirklees Highways Department in THAT one.
I’ve been down a pothole only once in my life, and that was enough. It was called Dow Cave, in the Yorkshire Dales.
It was cold, wet and very dark and several million times bigger than the irregularities in, say, Park Road, Lockwood or Longwood Road in Paddock, shamefully decrepit though those two sample roads might be.
There were 16 of us, teenagers on an Outward Bound fortnight. I made the mistake of wearing a chunky sweater which, after I fell down a waterfall into a deep pool, became 10lbs heavier and three feet longer.
There was a moment of panic when a chubby boy called Douglas got stuck in a boulder choke 200ft underground and started screaming.
There were eight teenagers in front of him and seven behind, and, push and pull as we might, we couldn’t unstick him.
Eventually, I had a bright idea. I took my pullover off and squeezed the water over him.
With a quick heave he came out of the choke like a cork out of a bottle.
He suffered deep bruising for the rest of the fortnight and claustrophobia for the rest of his life.
You don’t get that in Kirklees potholes.
I’m not saying that we should be tolerant of potholes. But the Highways Department’s approach to spotting and quickly repairing them to a high standard seems somewhat lacking.
It is also, and more worryingly, not susceptible to criticism in this matter in the sense that nothing appears to improve.
There was a howl of protest last winter, and nobody in Kirklees seemed to learn anything.
As a public relations exercise, repairing potholes is a real winner. Odd that no-one should have spotted the opportunity to win Brownie points with the tax payers.
Not all the blame should go to Kirklees, however. If the abominable catchphrase ‘Big Society’ means anything it means taking a portion of the responsibility for what happens in your life, and in this instance what happens to your vehicle.
Whenever possible, try driving slower and driving round rather than across the holes in the road, would be my suggestion. Or is that too easy?